How easily do I succumb to the power of suggestion? Well, when I heard J.D. Salinger died -- even though I did not have fond memories of reading The Catcher in the Rye in high school -- I decided to go to my library and comb the shelves for Franny and Zooey. As luck would have it, it was no where to be found, and I stumbled upon this little gem instead:
Honestly, after reading this collection, I can see why people thought Salinger was a genius (read: disturbed). Yes, the stories were a bit unnerving, but I don't think that's why I felt anxious while reading. I'm pretty sure it was his writing that created this unease. Even with eccentric characters and bizarre plot lines, it was the frenetic thought process and word placement that kept me willingly cringing page after page.
Normally, I can't read more than one book at a time. I just don't work that way. It is easier for me to read a book in two days, than to carefully switch my mind from one set of characters to another. However, that doesn't stop me from taking out 10 books every time I set foot in a library. Which then involves me frantically trying to finish one book before the next one is due back. I renew the books as often as I can, but that doesn't help when it's: read one book, take out five more. I think that's why I liked reading these short stories though. I could finish a 15 page story, and if need be, put the book on the back burner, while I finished another book before it was due back. It was also nice to take breaks between each of Salinger's erratic mini-worlds.
Well, when I picked up Nine Stories, I also discovered this beautiful, well-written collection:
I thought Valentines would be perfect if I read it before Valentine's Day and wrote a post for the special day.....
I'll wait while you check back....-tick-tock-tick-tock-....oh, hey....no? you didn't find a post about this book on Feb 14th? Yea. I know.
Whaaaat? (whiney voice) -- It crept up on me, I couldn't finish it (didn't start it) in time.
I wish I had though, because I fell in love with this book. The title was pleasingly ironic and every story in it was lovingly sardonic. It wasn't sappy or sentimental or cheesy or mushy or lovey or anything that would normally go along with the word "Valentine" when in relation to its namesake day. It's about lovers and relationships, but nothing ties together neatly in the end. It was heartache, heartbreak and realism rolled into one remarkably touching package.
So, I've decided I will no longer cower from novellas. I won't dodge anecdotal 10-pagers. The universe has won.
Hey, you never know, maybe now that I've stopped hating them, I can start writing them?